Pretoria - Bribery has increased in Africa, and South Africa has been singled out as a corruption hotspot in the 2016 anti-bribery and corruption survey.
According to the survey, conducted by law firm ENSafrica, this was denting the country’s global image as an investment destination.
The Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania and Uganda were also viewed as bribery hotspots.
The survey was conducted by interviewing 132 companies, 80% of them operating in South Africa.
It was designed to gauge perceptions regarding anti-corruption compliance commitment to observe local and global requirements, and ascertain how these processes compared to general best practice.
ENSafrica director Steven Powell on Thursday told the Pretoria News that over the past 24 months, 39% of organisations experienced bribery and corruption.
“Of this group, 18% experienced three or more incidents and 20% five or higher.
"The majority of incidents were reported to have occurred in South Africa with 79%,” Powell said.
One of the biggest concerns arising from the survey was the increase in the number of incidents in which companies were requested to pay bribes to secure contracts and tenders, he said.
“These are incidents where you pay a government official to do the job that they are supposed to be doing. There seems to be an increase in the number of these incidents in South Africa.
“The biggest factor is that companies that have been asked to pay a bribe have jumped from 25% to just under 39% in the current survey. Two out of every five companies have been asked to pay a bribe,” he said.
Powell said one of the most worrying aspects discovered during the survey was that despite companies having policies to reduce the number of incidents, very little was done to enforce them.
“What is encouraging though is that the National Treasury is reviewing the role of the chief procurement officer to give them greater investigative powers and the ability to penalise companies that bribe in order to get government contracts,” Powell said.
He lamented the high levels of corruption taking place at government and municipal level.
“The survey also reflects that a lot of big bribery risks for companies occur through their business partners.
"They may appoint an agent or business partner or intermediary to negotiate on their behalf, and those people may bribe to help their company win contracts and tenders,” he said.